Folly is bound up in the heart of a child

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Proverbs 22:15 says, “Folly is bound up in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from Him” (cf. Pro. 13:24, 23:14, 29:15).   This does not advocate child abuse.  This advocates for parents to function as stewards of the children God has given them.  And that stewardship does include discipline.  And there is a place for appropriate physical discipline.  But that is not what I want to draw from this verse today.  I want us to see three deeper concepts that apply not only to children but every age level.

First, notice the source of folly.  It is the heart of a child.  You never have to teach children to whine, complain, disobey or act selfishly.  It comes naturally.  Granted, the world may encourage that folly, but it is innate just the same.  Now, with this recognize that this natural inclination to sin is not just a childish trait, but a human one.  Within all of us is the desire to sin.  The Bible calls it the flesh.  I don’t care if you are five or 85, you’re not perfect.  In you there is folly that tempts you to sin.

Second, notice the remedy for this folly.  It is discipline.  And this remedy not only applies to children, but to adults.  Especially Christian adults.  If you are a Christian, you are a child of God.  By His grace, through faith in the person, death and resurrection of Jesus, your sins have been paid for and your adoption papers signed with Jesus’s blood and sealed with the Holy Spirit.  You are a child of God.  But you do not become perfect when you become a child of God.  You still live in the flesh and have folly in your heart.  And one of the ways God gets that folly out of you and grows you is discipline.  

Third, notice the severity of the remedy.  It is a rod.  Rods don’t feel good.  They bring pain.  Not all pain is evil.  Pain is can be a powerful teacher.  The pain a child receives when they ignore their parents warning and touch the hot stove is not evil.  It is a powerful teacher.  And that’s what excellent discipline brings.  Not pain that is evil, but pain that teaches which way a child should go.  And once again, this not just a principal for parenting, it is a principal for all the children of God. Hebrews 12:6 says God disciplines those He loves!  He puts us through trials for the purpose of driving out folly and replacing it with His righteousness.

Today, I believe God is allowing this whole pandemic for a myriad of reasons.  And one of those reasons is discipline.  He is utilizing this test to drive out folly in our life.  What is your and my folly?  Maybe it is a lack of commitment to His Word, prayer, fellowship with believers, or service to Him.  Maybe its cowardice, pride, anger, lust, or a false god that you have be propping up in His 1st place position?  Today I encourage you to be humble, think and ask, “Is there folly in my heart that God is exposing with this pandemic?”  And if there is, praise God for this revealing test and then ask for the strength to repent and live righteously for Him.

Pastor John   

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Pastor John Wright

Pastor John is married to his beautiful wife Kimberly and has 5 young children. John holds a Master’s of Theology (ThM.) from Dallas Theological Seminary and has been serving in full-time pastoral ministry for 10+ years. John is passionate about declaring the truth of the Gospel and leading people in their knowledge, understanding and application of God's Word.